DFO 1575 Malta, 22/8/78
—"There is a river‚ the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God!" (Ps.46:4).
1. DON'T EXPECT ME TO UNDERSTAND ALL THIS! I've read it many times & I don't understand it all—I don't know anybody who does! When the time comes & it happens, maybe then we'll understand! This is very similar to John's description of the Holy City in the Book of Revelation in the last two chapters, only Ezekiel's is a little more detailed. (Reads Ezek.47:)
2. (VERSE 1:) "AFTERWARD HE BROUGHT ME AGAIN UNTO THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE; & behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east‚ & the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar."
3. HE'S TALKING ABOUT A STRANGE NEW CITY—A MYSTERY! Most Bible students feel he is talking about the Heavenly City, although some of the things are so mundane & detailed that it almost sounds as though he's talking about a new Earthly Jerusalem that is to be built.—Except you run across a few things like the tree & leaves etc. that couldn't very well be true of anything you now know!
4. (VERSE 2:) "THEN BROUGHT HE ME OUT OF THE WAY OF THE GATE NORTHWARD, & led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward." He was sure very careful to mention all these directions, wasn't he? Of course the poor Prophet didn't know what he was seeing, so therefore he tried to give all the clues he could! I can understand his situation!
5. "AND, BEHOLD, THERE RAN OUT WATERS ON THE RIGHT SIDE. (Verse 3:) And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, & he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles." That's about 500 meters. That's quite a broad river to wade out a thousand cubits & it's only to the ankles!
6. (VERSE 4:) "AGAIN HE MEASURED A THOUSAND, & BROUGHT ME THROUGH THE WATERS; THE WATERS WERE TO THE KNEES." Now he's out about a thousand meters from the shore & the water is only up to his knees! "Again he measured a thousand"—another 500 meters—"& brought me through; the waters were to the loins." Now he's 1,500 meters out & the waters are only up to his crotch!
7. (VERSE 5:) "AFTERWARD HE MEASURED A THOUSAND"—NOW HE'S ABOUT 2,000 METERS OUT—OVER A MILE!—"& IT WAS A RIVER THAT I COULD NOT PASS OVER: for the waters were risen‚ waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over." Now, for a little country the size of Israel, that's a pretty big river! They don't have any rivers now like that & never have had! So we know this is quite miraculous & supernatural & speaking of something that has never yet occurred & must refer to something in the future, having to do with the Holy City!
8. ALL THIS DESCRIPTION HERE IN EZEKIEL VERY CLOSELY PARALLELS THE DESCRIPTION OF THE HOLY CITY ELSEWHERE, PARTICULARLY IN REVELATION. Revelation sums it up a little more concisely & not so much detail, a little clearer & more understandable & not quite as mysterious & complicated. But in Revelation there is also this beautiful new Holy City come down from God out of Heaven to man on Earth, made of the most beautiful kind of stone & jewels & some kind of clear golden crystal-like glass! Well, I turned to it, I might as well read it!
9. REVELATION 22: "AND HE SHEWED ME A PURE RIVER OF WATER OF LIFE, CLEAR AS CRYSTAL, PROCEEDING OUT OF THE THRONE OF GOD & OF THE LAMB. In the midst of the street of it, & on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, & yielded her fruit every month: & the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations."
10. WELL, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHERE WERE THOSE STREETS? Rivers don't have any streets! The language here is a little archaic & a little complicated the way he states it. The picture is‚ in a sense, like the River Thames, almost like a street through the City. In other words‚ you might say it's like a park with a river flowing through the middle of it & these beautiful trees are on either side & in the middle!
11. AND IT BORE WHAT KIND OF FRUIT? (Family: Twelve manner of fruit.) You mean it just didn't bear one? "On either side of the river was there the Tree of Life." Quite obviously there wasn't just one tree, but a whole row of trees on either side of the river. And they bore all kinds of fruit‚ at least 12 kinds every month! Just think of that!
12. SOME PEOPLE‚ ESPECIALLY REAL ESTATE MEN IN MIAMI, USED TO NICKNAME THE PAPAYA THE "TREE OF LIFE", because just about every month you have another whole crop of ripe fruit in the bottom ring that's ready to be picked! It's just constantly bearing fruit all the time, & the papaya heals sores & all kinds of things, so it's very similar to the Tree of Life! "The leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations." So this here in Revelation is a very similar picture to the one described in Ezekiel‚ because now we're going to get down to some more verses! (Continues reading Ezek.47:)
13. (VERSE 6:) "AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SON OF MAN, HAST THOU SEEN THIS?" Well, he sure must have seen it by this time‚ he was swimming! "Then he brought me, & caused me to return to the brink of the river." From 2‚000 meters out he had to swim ashore. Well, he only had to swim part way & then he could walk out the rest of the way!—Or did he carry him?
14. (VERSE 7:) NOW WHEN I HAD RETURNED, BEHOLD, AT THE BANK OF THE RIVER WERE VERY MANY TREES ON THE ONE SIDE & ON THE OTHER." Now here again is a river lined with trees! (Verse 8:) "Then said he unto me‚ These waters issue out toward the east country, & go down into the desert, & go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed."
15. THERE IS ONLY ONE SEA IN ISRAEL THAT IS A DESERT SEA, A SEA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT, & THAT'S THE DEAD SEA! And do its waters need healing? I mean, they are dead waters, they can't support life for anything! In other words, it's a sea with no outlet so it's just like a salt sink, a great salt lake! Maybe it's gonna wash it away! Rev.21:1 says "there was no more sea"!
16. BUT THIS TREMENDOUS RIVER IS GOING TO ERUPT FROM THIS NEW JERUSALEM, this huge, huge river so broad they couldn't even pass over it! That's going to be quite a river! And such a volume of this sweet water is going to flow into the Dead Sea, that it is going to turn the Dead Sea into a living sea! In other words, it is going to turn it either into a normal salt water sea or even a fresh water lake, because "the waters shall be healed"!
17. (VERSE 9:) "AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERY THING THAT LIVETH WHICH MOVETH, WHITHERSOEVER THE RIVERS SHALL COME, SHALL LIVE: & there shall be a very great multitude of fish because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed." Think of that! Right now the Dead Sea has no fish at all.—Maybe a few little microscopic organisms that live on salt, which are kind of rare‚ but that's all. "And every thing shall live whither the river cometh." In other words, this great River of Life is going to come forth from the Holy City & heal the land & the waters etc. Do they need water in that part of the country? They sure do! It says it. And they're even going to have fishermen!
18. (VERSE 10:) "AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT THE FISHERS SHALL STAND UPON IT FROM EN-GEDI EVEN UNTO EN-EGLAIM; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds‚ as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many." What was the great sea in the Bible?—The Mediterranean! In other words, they're going to have fish in the Dead Sea as there were in the Mediterranean. It's going to be quite a day‚ huh? (Verse 11:) "But the miry places thereof & the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt." Certain places are not going to be healed. Now does this next verse sound familiar?
19. (VERSE 12:) "AND BY THE RIVER UPON THE BANK THEREOF, ON THIS SIDE & ON THAT SIDE SHALL GROW ALL TREES FOR MEAT‚ WHOSE LEAF SHALL NOT FADE, NEITHER SHALL THE FRUIT THEREOF BE CONSUMED."—Meaning it won't be consumed by rot or bugs or worms. It won't be blighted in any way or spoiled. "It shall bring forth new fruit according to his months." Again, does that sound familiar? Every month a new kind of fruit! "Because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary."
20. IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE WATER OF THE RIVER ITSELF THAT CAUSES THESE TREES TO BE SO MARVELLOUS! Waters of Life! At last, the Fountain of Youth! That's probably where they got the idea for the Fountain of Youth! "And the fruit thereof shall be for meat, & the leaf thereof for medicine." Does that sound familiar? Turn back to Revelation 22:2 again & see what it says!:
21. "IN THE MIDST OF THE STREET OF IT‚ & ON EITHER SIDE OF THE RIVER, WAS THERE THE TREE OF LIFE‚ which bare twelve manner of fruits, & yielded her fruit every month: & the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations." So it must be the same River, the same picture‚ same City, because it is all the same thing! The Trees of both Rivers—obviously the same river—yield fruit every month, & have leaves that heal!
22. THE RIVER THAT THE PROPHET EZEKIEL IS TALKING ABOUT IS OBVIOUSLY THE SAME ONE THAT JOHN SAW IN REVELATION!—Only Ezekiel goes into a lot more detail & even talks about how this river is going to sweep the Dead Sea. Well, if it is going to be the same kind as the Great Sea, then maybe it's just gonna bring the Dead Sea up to normal salinity—in other words‚ a salt water sea like the Great Sea—because it is going to have the same kind of fish. But that would be quite a miraculous feat regardless! So if it is going to sweep the Dead Sea & bring back fish again & have trees on both sides—Trees of Life that bring forth fruit every month & have leaves that heal—that's quite a river!
23. SO ALTHOUGH THIS DEAR LITTLE HEALTH LADY USED THIS SCRIPTURE TO CONFIRM THE FACT THAT HERBS & LEAVES CAN HEAL, THAT'S PERFECTLY ALL RIGHT, THAT'S TRUE. She uses Scripture to prove it. But of course these herbs & these leaves are such as no other have ever been that we know of today! We don't know of any trees today that yield a different kind of fruit every month! You can say the papaya yields fruit about every month, it is continually bearing, & its leaves do have healing properties, but nothing like these trees! Apparently some of these things are spiritually significant too. Certain things & places & probably peoples aren't going to be healed because of their meanness.
24. WELL, I DON'T THINK THERE IS MUCH POINT IN US GOING ON TO THE NEXT PART OF THE PASSAGE with all those big words & difficult-to-pronounce places, & we wouldn't know what we were reading about anyhow! So unless you are a very ardent Bible student & you know all this difficult geography, it wouldn't mean anything to you!—Except that he says that the land is going to be divided up between us & given to us for an inheritance etc. PTL! Well, that ought to be enough of a little devotion for today, something to look forward to!
25. WE ALREADY HAVE THE EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE! (Eph.1:14) We already have a sample through the healing the Lord gives us now for our various illnesses & aches & pains etc. And He does have some herbs & leaves & things in this World that do have healing properties. So praise the Lord, those are like a sample of what's going to be in the future! Well, apparently that Tree is going to be even better! PTL!
26. AMEN, THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORD, LORD, & THANK YOU FOR THE HOPE OF SUCH WONDERFUL THINGS YET TO COME IN THE FUTURE WORLD, the New World, the New Earth, the New Heaven, the City that's coming down from Thee!—A miraculous, supernatural World, Lord‚ where we will be supernatural also, & everything will be wonderful & the way it ought to be! Thank You that we have such a wonderful World to look forward to, where we won't have to be hunting around for a house‚ making sure it's convenient & the best location, because You will have given us a place to live forever that is perfect for us‚ Lord‚ just exactly what You know we need!—TYJ!—In Jesus' name, amen.